Nov 4, 2013

Connecticut Moose Sighting

The little Northeast Connecticut town of Stafford Springs that I live in is the third largest land area town in Connecticut with a population of just over 11,000 people and a wide variety of forested land and one that usually isn't mentioned in the same sentence as a moose, but lately it has. 

Photo published on WFSB.COM
We have had a few moose sightings over the past few years as reported in the July/August issue of Connecticut Wildlife Magazine, but recently we just had another.  This past Wednesday morning just a few hundred yards down the road from where I live a large moose was spotted out in the open farm field shared by some cows.  Of course, I drive the other direction to work and missed out on this wonderful sight and I was not happy about it.

Back in late September  while doing some bowhunting the boys and I came across a few different piles of old moose scat and we figured it was left by the moose that was reported back in May, but actually it may have been left by one of the moose being reported to be around in town this fall.  We had talked about how cool it would to see a moose here in our little neck of the woods and at that time little did we know that we would actually see one in this area.

Moose scat we found in late September

This past Friday we had rain and wind in the am so when it stopped that afternoon the boys decided to take advantage of the damp and quiet forest floor and do a little ins season scouting.  They headed out to the same little section of sate forest land near our house that just happens to be up the road from where were the recent moose sighting occured.  As they were nosing around along the edge of  a swamp they came across a small tree that had what looked like an extremely large deer rub.  It was over 6 foot high and there was no way a deer did this, so they decided it was made by a moose and it most certainly would look so.  They got talking a bit about what they would do if they saw a moose and not 40 yards later my son Brendan spotted something large and black under some dark thick pines and thought it was a bear, but it turned out to be the same cow moose spotted on Wednesday.  They watched her a bit, moved around to get a better look and she must have noticed them because she turned towards them, made some noises and started moving their way.  Obviously they were a little concerned and put a little distance between them and the moose but watched her for a bit before continuing off on their walk about.

Brandon and Brendan with their find

When they arrived home and showed me the picture of the rub and then told me the story about the moose I was so wound up I wanted to jump out of my skin oh and just a little jealous.  I have seen moose in the wild, but never one in my home state.   Well Saturday morning we headed out to the same section of state forest for some bow hunting.  Brandon got setup in one of our ground blinds, not far from where they saw the moose while my son Brendan setup along a swamp and I went on a scouting mission.  It was a great morning as well all saw deer and Brendan almost got a shot at a nice doe and we had considered it a win for sure.  Little did we know it would get even better.

I met up with my son Brendan and we continued my walk about over the back part of the property so we could check for some newer deer sign and as we started off the hill and down into some thick brush we heard the sound of branches cracking.  at first we thought we jumped a deer, but the noise was way to loud and a whole lot slower.  We stopped dead and listened. Once again we could hear loud crunching and branches breaking and then we heard something that sounded like the sounds I heard a moose make and Brendan confirmed it was the same noise the moose made the day before.  We both thought there was no way in heck we were going to see this moose two days in a row.  Well we didn't want to push her around so we sat and watched and listened, but the noise went off the hill and away from us in a very slow and methodical manner without a sighting.  I was excited and a little disappointed but I was sure it was the moose.  We continued on our way to pick up Brandon at his ground blind and never did see the moose but we did jump a deer that went running by Brandon at warp speed.  He was amazed at how fast and how far it was jumping and how quiet it was.

When we got to Brandon we told him what had just heard and he claimed he heard loud noises from that direction earlier as well.  I wanted the boys to take me to the rub they found so I could see it myself so off we went.  As we were working through the thick brush about 200 yards away from where we started we jumped something and my son whispered MOOSE!  Sure enough I caught a glimpse of her through the brush.  I quickly pulled out my video camera and waited to see here again.  It was like she had disappeared and I kept wondering how the heck something that dark and large just blends in.  I decided to sneak up on the hill where she ran and I quickly found her tracks and took about 4 or 5 more steps and heard here moving through the brush but couldn't see her.  All of a sudden I heard loud crunching coming my way but I knew it was her and sure enough a nice whitetail doe came running my way and I was happy to have my camera rolling.  At one point she stopped and turned to look right at me before bounding off and running by the boys.

I didn't want to disturb the moose any more then we had already done, so we backed out of there and took another route to the rub.   I did get to see the rub and it definitely looks like a rub from a very large animal, but you can be the judge and comment on what you think it is.

I do hope Mrs. Moose sticks around so I can take her picture.  Gun season is a few weeks away and we will definitely see more hunting pressure in the woods here and that just might push her away.

November is always a magical time in the deer woods here in New England, but little did we know just how magical it would be for us and being able to share that with the boys makes it even more magical.

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